Metro-North’s Hudson Rail Link receives new bus

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Hudson Rail Link Saf-T-Liner® HDX bus

Metro-North’s Hudson Rail Link feeder bus service has received at least one new bus, and it is now in service. The bus, numbered M0029, was manufactured by Thomas Built Buses, Inc. and is their Saf-T-Liner® HDX bus model.

The Saf-T-Liner® HDX bus features a rear-engine design that is the mainstay of transit-style bus fleets. It has a capacity of 66-90 passengers. The engine is located in the back for ideal weight distribution whether empty and loaded. This also creates a quiet and comfortable ride, with an oversized windshield giving the driver great visibility. Able to tackle mountain roads and city streets in style, this bus features a thermostatically controlled hydraulic cooling system, larger brakes, a steel drop frame, optional air suspension and optional transmission retarders for improved braking.

This is the fourth generation of buses used in Hudson Rail Link service since the operation began in 1991 with five 17-passenger vans. Those vans were replaced by eight transit-style buses in 1995. Increasing ridership led the third generation of buses to be introduced around 2003, with 10 All American Forward Engine buses from Blue Bird Corp.

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Hudson Rail Link All American FE from Blue Bird

As a rider of this excellent bus service, I have noticed that the Blue Bird buses are starting to get a little rough around the edges. I don’t know if it is from old age, high mileage, or lack of maintenance, but apparently it has come to the point where a school bus recently had to be substituted in. The new Thomas Built bus should be a welcomed addition to the fleet. However, I don’t know at this time if all of the existing buses are going to be replaced now with the new buses.

The Hudson Rail Link bus service has multiple routes serving the Metro-North train stations at Spuyten Duyvil and Riverdale in the Bronx, NY, and can most likely be credited with significantly increasing train ridership from these stations. The bus service is operated under contract by Atlantic Hudson, Inc.

Additional photos I took today:

Edit (3/6/2009) :: There are at least two new buses : #M0029 that I photographed above, and #M0028 that I’ve seen a couple times recently.

Edit #2 (3/9/2009) :: I rode one of the new buses. What can I say – buses suck. But it still had that new car smell. The engine also sounds waaaaay different from the engine in the old buses.

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